BJP Development to Keep Faith of the Faithful
By Pratul Sharma - NEW DELHI
Published: 16th Feb 2014 09:03:52 AM
BJP’s poll recipe is likely to be development as its main ingredient with fair amount of sprinkling of saffron.
After the party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi sold the middle-class dreams of building an IIT, IIM and AIIMS in every state, the principal opposition party may also promise to build airports even at the district level—an ambitious attempt to woo the aspirational classes.
If this is likely to enthuse the electorate, BJP will have something for the faithful. Ganga Safai Abhiyan (Clean Ganga Mission) may feature prominently in the party’s vision document and manifesto, sources said.
Restoring the Ganga to its pristine glory is what BJP has been promising for long; now it is likely to propose a way forward. The holy river will be dredged and cleaned from Patna to Kolkata to facilitate water transport. The over 1,100-km long stretch holds potential to transfer cargo, and even can be used for tourism, sources involved in the drafting of the vision document said.
This document is currently anchored by former party chief Nitin Gadkari and is likely to be unveiled next month. BJP had held discussions with stakeholders and industry experts to create a bank of ideas which will be made part of the document which will chart the party’s vision till 2025.
At a party programme on the Ganga early this week, mercurial leader Uma Bharati, who is running a campaign to save the river, said she has also drawn up a programme to revive the river.
“Sand mining should be done through scientific means and even encouraged to rejuvenate the river. We are not against the power projects but separate unrestrained river flow should be allowed so that the river does not dry up. I have already spoken to professors from IITs in Kanpur and Roorkee who have plans to revive the river,” Bharati said. BJP President Rajnath Singh while endorsing Bharati’s initiatives said the party would certainly follow many programmes after tweaking some of them.
Modi too had promised a clean Ganga during his first election rally in Varanasi in December.
Various governments had pumped millions of rupees to clean the river without much success. The UPA government recently told Parliament that under two phases of Ganga Action Plan started in 1985, `974 crore has been released by the Centre. The government revamped its river conservation strategy and set up the ‘National Ganga River Basin Authority’ (NGRBA) in 2009. Under the NGRBA programme, 61 schemes in 46 towns in Ganga states have been sanctioned at a total cost of `3,546.65 crore.
Apart from cleaning the Ganga, in the infrastructure sector, BJP will promise to develop water ports and use sea planes to connect the entire country better.
“River connectivity is another dream project of BJP, work on which has already begun in the party-ruled states such as Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. If BJP comes to power, the project will be scaled up for the whole nation, which will create new benchmarks of water supply and transport in the country,” a leader said.
Cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Chennai and
Bangalore will be interconnected with high-speed trains. Best consultancies of the world like
SwissRail will be employed to work on modernisation and expansion of Indian Railways to double its existing network. Referring to building better road network to change the country, Gadkari in his interaction with NRIs on the vision document early this week quoted late American President John F Kennedy who had said, “American roads are not good because America is rich; America is rich because American roads are good”.
“It was during NDA’s regime that the four-laning of the National Highways had started which unfortunately still remains incomplete after a decade of UPA’s regime. Once completed, all villages of the country would be connected by motorable roads,” he added.
To integrate the North-eastern states into the national development agenda, BJP will promise to adopt an integrated planning approach—each place would have roads, cable cars, ropeways and chopper services for accessibility.
Sources said party is also likely to propose initiatives to increase milk production in the country. “New breed of cows will be created that will have double the milk production than the existing domestic ones,” Gadkari said.
PREMISE OF THE PROMISE
● Under the Ganga Safai Abhiyan, the river will be dredged and cleaned from Patna to Kolkata—over 1,100 km—to facilitate transport and tourism.
● Water ports and sea planes to connect the country better.
● Cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Chennai and Bangalore will be interconnected with high-speed trains.
● An integrated planning approach for North-eastern states—each place would have roads, cable cars, ropeways
and chopper services to create accessibility.
● Proposal for initiatives to increase milk production in the country.